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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed transatlantic six times, this was the best experience in many ways. The five lecturers kept us busy two or three times s day with history, ecology and sports talks. Athens crew was friendly, helpful, professional, ... Read More
We have sailed transatlantic six times, this was the best experience in many ways. The five lecturers kept us busy two or three times s day with history, ecology and sports talks. Athens crew was friendly, helpful, professional, informal, consistant. The food was excellent in all venues. There is no extra charge for the two specialty restaurants, The public spaces are comfortable with many quiet nooks, books, art, board games, etc. The cabin is large and well furnished with a great bed. The bathroom has a large shower and heated floors, there's a built in night light. Very good entertainment, it varied from classical to song and dance plus we had an exceptional magician who also gave free classes. Viking Star transatlantic fills your sea days with interesting speakers, cooking classes, bridge lessons, craft classes, all free. Overall, great value for money. We are ready to do this cruise again next year. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people ... Read More
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people and a remarkably intelligent, attentive crew visiting an itinerary of a lifetime on an impeccable, smallish ship, read on. We are just back from Viking’s Grand Pacific Explorer cruise that traced all around the Pacific, roughly following the Ring of Fire from New Zealand through Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia (Siberia), across the Bering Sea, and down through Alaska to Vancouver. Portions of this 93-day itinerary were also available in smaller chunks of 15 to 23 days. As we came to realize, the guests on shorter legs were taking a cruise on the ship. We lived there. And it was fantastic. There were roughly two dozen of us who traveled the entire way and another fifteen or so who embarked in Sydney for 79 of the 93 days. All tolled, we traveled 19,919 nautical miles on the ship. Convert to statue miles and add on the air travel, and our adventure went far beyond the distance around the globe. What we learned: You can be happy on a Viking Oceans ship for a long time and still be happily married. Although our Penthouse Veranda was not the smallest stateroom, several of the Grand Voyagers were in the standard size (all veranda) staterooms, and there was at least one couple who survived and celebrated their 50th anniversary just afterward. The secret is the many varied public spaces on the ship. The Explorer’s Lounge is great 24/7, and you don’t have to order any booze to just sit and enjoy the view and read. Or converse in comfortable seating clusters. Add the quiet reading area in the deck 1 library, the exterior wings outside the Winter Garden, and various nooks and crannies. There is always somewhere to go. Crossing the equator and the International Dateline can be fun. Viking made sure we celebrated on both occasions. May 14 happened TWICE (thus 93 days, not 92)! The seas are never what you expect. Yes, the Tasman Sea can be “lively,” as can the Bass Strait above Tasmania, but even the Bering Sea is not necessarily going to be bad. If you count on good or bad seas, you won’t get them. It’ s pure luck. Siberia did kick up a ruckus for us for one day, but the Bering Sea was crazy calm! You will get to know the crew very, very well. They will bring you just about anything, anytime. Room service delivers ANYTHING on their menu for free anytime. Ask for the things you don’t see but crave. This applies to those on the ship for two short weeks or for three months. “Another latte, madame?” “A scone from tea in the Wintergarden?… sure I will get that for you.” The only cost is if you elect to drink alcohol from the bar. Those with the Silver Spirits package pay nothing. Others like us paid very reasonable prices with no added gratuities if we chose to drink. Of course, the minibar in our PV cabin had standard level booze and mixers of our choice, so we could always carry our own drinks to the lounge. If we had brought a bottle of our own on board-- no problem. They’ll even provide the glass and ice. No nickels. No dimes. There is a bar waiter, Ardel, who introduced me to an excellent formula for a top shelf margarita, now dubbed the “Ardel Margarita” by several of us who enjoyed it! The senior officers are incredible. Kudos to the general manager for most of our cruise, Joaquim Scherz, and to the restaurant manager Gerome Venon, for making our group of voyagers feel especially welcome and for preventing monotony from EVER setting in – as if that could happen with such a rich itinerary! Even the entertainment team added some new performances so we could enjoy the talents of two different Viking Bands who were onboard during our tenure and especially the excellent ensemble of four young Viking Vocalists Aoibhin, Jorgen, Dan, and Beth, whom we got to know quite well. (These four, by the way, were the first to be awarded a new contract by Viking to stay together on their next cruise in the Caribbean.) Kudos to cruise director Spencer who rose to the role on this, his first cruise in the position. When Viking says they are a family, they are serious. That includes the passengers. They know you. They figure you out within a few days, and they are all eager to make the cruise p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Your cabin steward knows when you are likely to be out and about or when you have an excursion scheduled. The ice is there every day on time. The things you store in you bathroom are arranged exactly as you like them. After a few days, people know your names. (The general manager told us he actually looks over each guest list in advance and learns names and scans for those he has met before.) We learned much about the way Viking hires, trains, and rotates its crew and senior officers. We boarded Viking Orion and saw crewmembers we had met four years ago on Viking Star, now promoted to higher positions and happy in “the family.” The family extends to all the ships. When the Viking Sky encountered rough seas off the coast of Norway (while we were in Australia), every crewmember on Viking Orion was paying attention, praying, and even helping to send a video to the crew of Viking Sky in support and thanks for all their efforts. Family goes both ways. We Voyagers truly got attached to Joaquim and gave him a Viking umbrella salute send-off as he departed for a well-earned vacation. There were tears. Viking is truly fortunate to have such amazing people, and Joaquim is one who has been with VO since its launch. If he has any say about it, the quality will not diminish as the company expands. We sincerely hope his influence will keep things as good as they are! Speaking of family, our group of “Voyagers” definitely became one. People who take Viking cruises are fascinating folks with endless interests and stories. When you meet new people at home, you may see them once a week or a couple of times a month. When you make new friends on a ship, you see each other as often as three meals a day plus an excursion. Yes, we could avoid seeing them, but we enjoyed getting to know each other—really well! We avoided talking politics -- which was a refreshing change for over 90 days! We compared notes about our days (what excursion did you take?), drank a LOT of free wine (opened and closed the World Café many times), and watched out for each other when someone was “solo” on an excursion. These friendships will last for sure. We learned about the tons and tons of food they bring on board and when. We noticed that the chef went into town to pick up a few things while we were out on excursions – but only if he can find provisions that met Viking’s strict quality and safety standards. Within a couple of days, the cook at the breakfast fruit and yogurt bar handed me a bowl as I walked in each day and several times kept a few strawberries aside when the stock was dwindling before the next provisioning. He found the plain Greek yogurt that I like if it is not out on display. He was genuinely apologetic when the strawberries ran out in Siberia! If it wasn’t perfect, all we had to do was ask. Just when I was muttering to myself that there weren’t any chocolate options on the desert bar in the World Café, one of the supervisors offered to go down and get a chocolate mousse from the sit-down Restaurant downstairs…. “And where are you sitting, madame?” Or if the buffet choices were not exactly what we wanted, the chef custom-prepared a strip steak (“Medium? Four minutes, please.”) and delivered it to our table, with a potato and sour cream if that was what we wanted. All this in the “buffet” style World Café, our favorite venue for every day. Manfredi’s, the Italian specialty restaurant, is a gem. People seem to figure this out quickly, so be sure to book reservations as soon as you can. Book before you embark, as we did or stop by the laptop at the entrance to the world café to add more or make changes. We also learned that they will make every effort to change your numbers as you meet people and want a larger table. (Thank you, Ian!) Yes, we also ate in the Chef’s Table, but after trying each of the (mostly delicious) menus, we found we preferred the less formal and more flexible options elsewhere. We aren’t “The Restaurant” type people, though many of our friends were and enjoyed it just as much as we enjoyed the free-ranging exploration of the world Café – the same food, but you can graze and get up from your table at will. (Just hide your fork…. They clear TOO quickly!) The only nights I personally did not enjoy as much were the Indian Buffet theme nights, but my husband loved them. I just ordered a strip steak and tasted a few other things. I made the suggestion that perhaps not EVERYTHING had to be Indian… like the weird gelato flavors. We learned SO MUCH. The itinerary was loaded with places we had always wanted to see, and Viking offered many ways to learn about each one. The guest lecturers were great, and word gets out about which ones are REALLY good. The naturalist in the north Pacific and Alaska, the historian in Southest Asia, the archaeologist in New Zealand, the reef pilot on the Great Barrier Reef, and many others were terrific. If they can keep you awake in a darkened theater on a gently rocking sea, they must be good! The video replays on demand in the cabins were a MUST to keep up with the many things to learn. What we saw: It is a challenge to summarize forty-seven ports, but there were recurring themes: wildlife, history, religions, World Heritage sites, gardens, wine/beer/whiskey. We chose to take many optional excursions, mostly because we don’t like touring on buses much. A bus to GET somewhere is fine. We tend to like walking tours better. When we compared notes with our fellow travelers, we learned that by skipping some of the included excursions, we missed some good stuff. Some of the descriptions did not make it clear just how much time would be spent on or OFF the bus. As my husband says, the descriptions are a bit like real estate ads. Example: “Enjoy a panoramic tour.” Translate: bus ride. As Viking continues in these ports, we are sure the excursions will be refined and the descriptions edited for a better match to what is actually there. In the first season of a new itinerary, this is tough. We took this cruise knowing that would happen. Our priorities for tours may not be yours. My husband is a photo buff—both wildlife and street scenes, and I tend to enjoy culture, art, crafts, and people. Sometimes we split up to see what we liked best. We did not need to stay together every day of a 93 day cruise! Don’t miss the onboard cultural visitors. There were local groups who came on board in several countries to perform music and dance. ALL were amazing. Sometimes we did not find out about them until the day before or the day of. READ the Viking Daily! Port/excursion highlights: (Unless otherwise stated, all excursions/tours were VIKING offerings) Everything in New Zealand. Lots of wildlife and Maori culture options. We especially enjoyed visiting a sheep farm outside Napier, a foodie tour I did in Wellington, a seal watch my husband did outside Wellington, and wildlife cruises outside Christchurch and Dunedin. Others went to interior locations such as the Hobbiton tour. This may not be the best way to see interior New Zealand. I wish I’d had more time at Rotorua at the native (Maori) center there. Australia: Hobart, Tasmania. This port is right in town and we wish we had stayed MUCH longer. Just walk off the ship, and you were in a pedestrian area filled with shops and history. (Think Viking River Cruises.) We took a tour outside of town and visited a winery and the charming town of Richmond. Wish we could have done BOTH. We’d like to go back to Tasmania. The koala and kangaroo sanctuary outside Melbourne. Unlike many “sanctuaries” where the animals are caged or restricted, this one has animals on their own in the wild and shows visitors how to find and follow them respectfully. No koala cuddling, but fantastic naturalists who teach and let you participate in finding the animals. Sydney: Did a pub crawl in The Rocks on a HOT day. Saw lots of local color: weddings, crazy young professionals out having fun, and of course the Opera House right at Circular Quay. Since Viking Orion is small enough to pass under the Harbor Bridge, we were docked a short shuttle FERRY ride from Circular Quay. This could have been a pain, but it’s much more fun than a shuttle bus! We had a day on our own while others disembarked and embarked. Viking did offer an excursion for the in-transit passengers, but we elected to spend time with some new friends from Sydney whom we “met” here on CC. (They joined our cruise later in Hong Kong.) Great city. Almost anything you can do would be fun. Whitsunday Islands and Cairns: both are portals to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a smaller catamaran out to snorkel in the Whitsundays and a very large one (but well managed) in Cairns. We are not experienced snorkelers and have never seen the reef before, so we enjoyed these. Experienced GBR visitors might like more private or selective tours, but these are hard to find and schedule within port time limits. Viking did managed the tendering in Cid Harbor (Whitsundays) very well. Thursday Island--- skipped because of an incoming cyclone! Darwin: wildlife options again. We saw Jumping Crocs, which we thought would be really touristy. It actually was fun. The Territory Wildlife Park was also good, though VERY warm. Take lots of water with you! Be sure to visit the aviary. Weaker Australia ports: Newcastle, Townsville. These are perhaps good ports for their access to other places inland, but we did not find the actual towns as interesting. Maybe with time? Indonesia: In general, Indonesia has bad traffic, hot weather, and lots of temples. The blend of religions is fascinating and varies from island to island. Get a taste by seeing some of everything. Komodo: The national park is going to be closed for 2020. We were lucky to see the dragons. Very hot, and the most aggressive vendors we saw on the entire cruise were in the tent as we left the park. Be prepared to be tough and to haggle. Otherwise just duck and keep on walking! TAKE WATER. Viking did an outstanding job of managing the tendering and keeping guests hydrated and safe. They were on the dock with COLD towels and drinks as we finished the tour. The really wanted everyone to drink and stay safe. Bali: another disembarkation/embarkation port. On the day on our own, we traveled by cab into Denpasar to visit the fabric street—a MUST for any quilter or sewing enthusiast. We did an evening dinner and performance that evening which was fun, though touristy. We enjoyed seeing Batiks being made and wood carvers in action on a Viking excursion the next day. Surabaya: We visited a temple that is actually within an amusement park. Though it looked like we were entering Wally World, the temple, right next to the water, was interesting. The seafood lunch served on the way was excellent though a bit crowded. Our highlight was a stop at a T-shirt place that had graphically bold shirts at very low (fixed) prices. Thanks to a good tour guide. We’ve gotten compliments on those shirts everywhere. Semarang: Entre to a daylong trip to Borobudur, a must-see. Don’t do the included tour. Not much there. The Rainbow Village is not as enthralling as they say. Those who went to Borobudur said the long ride was definitely worth it, especially with the police escort that accompanied the bus caravan, stopping the challenging traffic. Think presidential motorcade. Viking managed an unfortunate bus accident between two buses that were following too closely pretty well. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Jakarta: Interesting but not worth two days? Went on a tour that included an inside visit to a large mosque and Catholic cathedral and a walk through Chinatown Had some time on the second day to go into town on the Viking shuttle to a shopping mall that offered great shopping for authentic batik shirts and much more. I think half the ship bought batik shirts. Weaker ports in Indonesia: Lombok? We actually did not go into this tender port. Those who did said we did not miss much. We really should not judge. Singapore One day, and not enough. Unfortunately, immigration stole over 90 minutes of our day—through no fault of Viking. If there were way for the ship to stay two days and not have to do this each day, it would be worth it. We did a walking “Odyssey” tour and saw little India, Chinatown, and an area called Arab Street. I’d do that tour again. We had time to explore on our own, which we always like. I’d like to have seen the gardens at Singapore Marina Bay, but we did not have time. I’d REALLY like to swim in the world’s largest infinity pool on the rooftop there, but you have to stay in the hotel to do that… unless Viking has connections? Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Our one day was a quick stop. My husband and I did separate tours. He enjoyed the Batu Caves and Pewter factory tour, managing to avoid having his hat stolen by the monkeys. I did the Blue Mosque tour, which was a misnomer. We saw a view of the mosque at a GREAT distance. We did enjoy a tour of several sites in the city and a FANTASTIC lunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, the last thing we needed was more good food! We honestly cannot say whether Kuala Lumpur is worth more time. Thailand Bangkok: The port is VERY, very far from the city, at least two hours drive if traffic is not bad. We had three days in Bangkok, the middle one a disembarkation/embarkation day for other passengers. We did Viking’s Bangkok After Dark tour, which was twelve hours long! The heat was oppressive, and the guide kept a pace that was a bit too enthusiastic for the heat. It did take us to great things and included a much appreciated foot massage after a lot of walking. We had a local dinner of SPICY pad thai and time shopping in the iconic night market. The tour is good, but plan on being totally soaked with sweat. Pace yourself and carry water. We took a private tour on the ship’s changeover day, and that was smart. We had a small van with great A/C and endless water. We could get back into the cool van often. We split the tour cost with three other friends, so it was quite reasonable. We visited locations our first tour did not include. Day 3 took my husband on the Viking tour out to the Summer Palace and Ayutthaya. He declared that tour to be excellent, including the golf carts! (I rested and did much-needed laundry out of the heat.) Cambodia Sihanoukville: This is the toughest port to talk about. It is not pretty, and the people lack hope. This port sparked great debate among our friends onboard. In my opinion, Viking needs to be honest about what you will see (poverty, loads of trash, hopelessness). The contrasts of the hotel where Jackie Kennedy stayed (a claim to fame in this miserable town) and the life in a local fishing village are painful. The Cambodian Cuisine tour we took involved riding in tuktuks through dusty, dirty streets. I did not initially appreciate the mask they gave me to wear, as I have never had respiratory issues. In the end, I actually needed it. The market offered a realistic view of what people buy and eat. The beachfront barbecue food attracted too many flies for us to taste it. Then we went to the Jackie hotel and had delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while feeling hollowly fortunate. The second day we took the included tour, but we were warned by our friends to expect very sad scenes and sickening smells. They were right. The little children who should have been in school -- but had never even been REGISTERED to attend -- bore witness to the lack of hope of the Cambodian people. Yes, Viking should let us all see the realities, but the descriptions also need to be accurate. This port is a place to learn and think, not to enjoy. If the corrupt government is benefitting from Viking’s visits, perhaps this is not a good idea? Sadly, the countryside beyond the city has exceptional natural beauty, and the guides were very honest about their plight. Vietnam What a contrast to Cambodia. There is hope, and education is highly valued in this rapidly-growing economy. VERY. VERY. HOT. Ho Chi Minh City (known to the locals as Saigon): Three days. A fair distance from the port -- about an hour. Fantastic city to visit! We did the Saigon Cooking Class, which was excellent in both organization and fun. We shopped in the market, cooked, learned a lot, and enjoyed our own cooking. The next day we enjoyed a special visit to the Hotel Reverie with our fellow Voyagers (NOT an excursion) for high tea. This was arranged by the general manager and restaurant manager just for our group. WOW. If you have a chance to do this high tea on your own, DO IT. We’ve never, ever seen anything like it! Try the iced Vietnamese coffee. It’s addictive. The third day we did Viking’s “Iconic Ben Thanh Market” tour which was disappointing. We spent more time being served food than exploring the market (allowing NO time for this). I expect Viking will be clarifying expectations with the tour operator on this, as several of us spoke to the ship about it. Chan May (near Danang): Excursion to Ancient Hoi An. This city was swamped with tourists, and the tour was too commercialized for us. We had hoped for an interesting walking tour. We were herded into places to buy things, stopped ever so briefly amid the crowds to take pictures of landmarks with said crowds. Little to no time on our own as was advertised. Other guides were apparently more flexible, and our friends enjoyed their tours. Ha Long Bay (overnight): Wow. This place is drop dead gorgeous. Even the included tour is amazing. We did a longer, slightly different boat tour of the bay, including a stop at a floating village. Great tour! We also went outside the city to the mountains and Yen Tu Monastery. What a wonderful change of pace. We meditated and talked with the leader of the monastery, a man with remarkable charisma. The tour also included a delicious dinner at a resort hotel in the mountains. A winner! Hong Kong (3 days) Another changeover port. The included tour was good- Victoria Peak (in clouds), sampan ride in Aberdeen, and Stanley Market with free time. Spent our “off day” on our own with a friend who lives nearby then did more exploring on the third day with some fellow travelers. We then did the Hong Kong by Night tour which was OK but went back to some places we had already seen on our own. It would be great for people just starting out in HK. Taipei (Keelung port)- one day We did the tour to Yehliu Geopark with its amazing rock formations. Great photo op if you can go early enough for smaller crowds. Then went to mountain village of Jiufen. Cute, though filled with tourists. There were some nice places to have tea with a great view. The Taiwan landscape is very pretty! JAPAN! Japan was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of our trip. We had heard that it was beautiful, but it was MORE beautiful than we thought. We had also heard about the crowds during Golden Week—extended this year due to the installation of a new emperor. It was more crowded in some places than we could ever imagine. AVOID Golden Week. This was Viking’s first visit to the Japanese ports, so ALL of them did something special at the port: bands, dancers, etc.! Lots of fun. Japanese weather was a welcome relief from the heat in previous ports. Kagoshima: Great tour to Kamikaze museum and Chimai samurai historic district with classic Japanese gardens. Terrific intro to just some of the subtleties of Japanese culture. Nagasaki: (separate excursions). Imari and Arita pottery tour was outstanding. Learned a LOT about the aesthetic, the history, and the processes. Beautiful scenery en route. Husband did Historic Nagasaki tour for the atomic bomb story and more. Korea (a one day stop in Busan in the midst of Japan ports): Beomosa Temple and Fish Market tour was good. Lots of walking up hill. Fish Market is a true cultural experience, especially on the weekend! More Japan Hiroshima (2 days): Sobering as you would expect. The included tour to the Peace Park is good at hitting highlights on foot, though it was pouring rain. The museum would have been interesting, but the line stretched around a half mile! Optional tour to Itsukushima Shrine was great. Crowded because of Golden week. Go as early in the day as you can. We were on the 7 am ferry. Great photo ops of the floating torii gate you always see on brochures. Be sure to try some maple leaf shaped cakes. Osaka (Kyoto): We took the tour that traveled to Ancient Kyoto. Worst crowds we have ever seen. Heel to toe and shoulder to shoulder in a mob. Easy to lose the guide. (Others shared pictures taken by friends on “regular” weekdays showing NO crowds.) DO NOT GO during Golden Week. Very long path of thousands of torii gates, but too packed to enter. Scary crowded! The Golden Palace late in the day was less crowded and saved the day for us. Shimizu: (day and a half): Nice city with very friendly people. They had quite a welcome for us at the port since this was Viking’s first visit there. Amazing views of Fuji that cleared off for us. I went to Hiroshige Utagawa Museum. Speechless how good it was. Included tour also good… good photo ops. Tokyo ( 3 days): Port is immediately next to the Olympic Village they are building for 2020! This was our last disembarkation/embarkation port getting hundreds of new passengers onboard. Kamakuri tour to three shrine and temples very good but again crowded. 43 foot Buddha! Took Viking’s shuttle to downtown on the middle day, a Sunday, and discovered that NO ONE was in town during Golden Week. Walked to Iperial Palace Grdens (beautiful) and around the area near Nihonbaski Mitsubishi. The department store is worthy of a visit on its own, very old school and filled with amazing things, including a full basement are of food. See where people custom order their $50K silk kimonos! Third day took Edo-Tokyo Museum and City Tower tour. City tower not that great. The sky tower is better, I think, if you like that sort of thing. Museum and smaller local garden were nice. Tokyo is a gorgeous city, and SOOO clean! Be sure to try every Japanese bathroom. After Indonesia and others, they are a delight! Sapporo/Otaru: Beautiful location on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. We took the optional tour to Nikko whiskey. Lots of fun. It SMELLED of whiskey when you walked onto the grounds. Friend told us the included tour was also very good. Much cooler here. The cherry blossoms were out, as this part of Japan is weeks behind the more southern areas. Russia (Siberia) Koraskov: Did the included tour. Damp, cold, and cloudy/drizzly. Not much here, and quite sad after Japan. The people are clearly longing for the good old days of the USSR. The performance was fun, and the vendors selling crafts there were very genuine. Most are happy to take USD, though they may cheat a bit on exchange rates! Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky: This city benefits from the large Navy base (out of sight from the port). Volcanoes abound. We did the military history tour. Too much talking at you. Choose a different one, perhaps just the included. Orthodox cathedral is less than ten years old! Someone showed us video from the helicopter tour over the volcano, and it was amazing. (But I don’t think I’d go with a Russian pilot in a Russian-maintained helicopter! Very pricey, too.) USA Dutch Harbor, AK: No tours offered, but there was a shuttle (school) bus into town. The locals are VERY friendly and talk on the buses. Go to the Alaska Ship Supply for fun, and perhaps to Safeway just to see how the locals live. Bald eagles everywhere—like pigeons! Take a hike or a walk. If you’re an American who’s been away for a long time, stop in a local bar for American bar food… nachos or a cheeseburger? If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll recognize many locations. Kodiak, AK: Nature photo cruise was a real highlight. Small boat with only 6 guests and a very knowledgeable couple guiding it. WELL worth it! Small town with simple self-guided (walking) tour and a shuttle bus. Very genuine. Seward, AK: Kenai Fiords cruise was incredible. Whales, dolphins, eagles, and a glacier thrown in. Entire pods of orcas! This was a MUST MUST MUST DO, even on a drizzly day. Stay in town for a visit to the Sea Life Center or some shopping, A regular shuttle goes back to the ship. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), AK: This small town with its native tribe of 760 people owns the port through a small corporation that benefits the tribe. They market it well, with many activities and tours. The whale watch cruise we took was actually done by a separate company that cooperates with the corporation. It was excellent. Great photos of humpbacks, including mama and baby. Sea lions, and more. Another keeper! Warning: the bridge you walk across into the port area is COLD because of the wind, but the temps are much nicer around the corner and out of the wind. Wear layers. Friend did the zipline and loved it. Sitka, AK: Busier port with another ship in port at same time. Cute, smallish town. Walking tour went 5+ miles to see historic sites, totem area, and Raptor Center. All are worth seeing. Wish we’d had longer in totems and Raptor Center. People who took included tour said it was good, too. Note: if you are looking for the post office, you have to go outside of town, They closed the location right next to the port! Ketchikan: VERY, very touristy. We saw a total of FIVE other ships in one day, one of whom was waiting for us to pull out. Downtown is all shops, some owned by other cruise companies. We went out of town to a Fishing lodge for a crab feast. It was fun, including the boat ride out to the island. Good wildlife and newspapers-in-the-picnic-table crab boil. Dress for the weather because you are on an outdoor deck. You also get a walk in a temperate rainforest at the lodge. If you want nothing but shopping, stay in town and walk off the ship. Some ships dock a bit outside of town. Vancouver, Canada: Kudos to Viking for handling the challenge of disembarking over 900 passengers by tender! It went quite well. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport ahead of schedule. We hope everyone’s bags went to the right place. Ours did. Viking, you made a difficult good-bye palatable by keeping it smooth and easy. Suggestions for Viking: Consider changing the itinerary for Jakarta and Singapore. Maybe steal a day from Jakarta and add it to Singapore? You could play with some of Indonesia, perhaps. What about Lombok? Semarang is not great, though you need it for Borobodur. Think about solving that? Think about how you want to “sell” your port call in Cambodia Continue to refine the excursions. We know you do this because of wise changes that were made after Viking Ocean’s first summer in the Baltic. Suggestions for future Grand Voyagers: Plan for HOT weather and extreme high humidity on this itinerary of traveling Feb-May as we did. We live in the southeast US and know humidity, but this is FAR worse. Plan to change your clothes from the skin out 2-3 times a day in many of these ports. Take enough clothing so you can do that. If you are on a long cruise with people getting on and off for various shorter :legs, “ ask the management to gather the “voyagers’ for cocktails and /or dinner and get everyone’s first names and cabin number while they are at that first gathering, That way you will know where to find each other! Emails help, too, if you want to be able to contact everyone. The ship management cannot give you this info. Thanks to TL from our group who spearheaded this! A long cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. If one excursions or day is lousy, just look to the next one. Share your feedback in a constructive manner. It goes much further, and the crew will always want to help you. Vary your excursions. Don’t book too many temples, street market visits, or anything else. You’ll get tired of it! READ the Viking Daily—before you go to bed! Get accustomed to giving laundry advice in Viking’s free launderettes. You know how they work, and you don’t want the newbies to break the machines! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a ... Read More
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a cake on your birthday. Plus all the great restaurants, shipboard amenities, very nice spacious cabins, and comfort while you cruise. Really enjoyed the aquivet terrace for lunch al fresco. Excursions were well planned and very enjoyable. The transfers to the hotel and ship were smooth and the transfer from hotel to ship even included a free tour of Barcelona. We have already explored much of Barcelona on the extension before the cruise and enjoyed tapas and watching the Spanish (Catalans) celebrate the end of the holiday season on Three Kings Day when they actually celebrate and give. Gifts so our Barcelona tour on the morning of January 6 was very quiet. The cabin is very nice. Every cabin has a veranda and ours was a penthouse veranda on a middle deck. The bathroom is very functional and roomy for a ship. Good toiletries and high quality towels plus lots of storage for your kit. The heated floors in the bathroom are very nice especially on a cold morning. The cabin has lots of storage for clothes and everything that you might bring aboard. There is even a mini refrigerator with complementary drinks. Plus binoculars to use on the veranda, a hair dryer, and robes to wear to the spa. We used the outdoor hot tub, very nice. On previous trips we have used the indoor spa with hot tub, pool and snow grotto - a lot of fun. This trip we finally used the exercise room, which is included free, and has good quality machines. All of the restaurants are nice. We had lunch in the World Cafe and it has great variety of food and also had sit down multi course lunch one sea day in the Restaurant. Dinner was in The Restaurant most nights with local specialties or European food. The nights we ate in the upgraded restaurant - Manfredi’s was excellent - great Italian food and especially the steak Florentine. The Chef’s Table is also nice with food and wine pairings although frankly we don’t like it as much as the other restaurants. Breakfast is great with lots of choices at the World Cafe and one day we tried the Norse food at Mamsem’s although really just had a waffle. The ports on this trip are nice but not as special as other trips. Barcelona and Malaga were the best. Cartagena almost as nice. Vigo was interesting and we did the optional tour to Bayona. Portsmouth was a good port especially cruising right by the old town as we left the harbor. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many ... Read More
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many cruises and this was probably the most well designed cruise-ship we have been on to date. We booked again for a colder weather cruise in New England in 2020 and are thinking of the winter Norway cruise in 2022. The food was excellent and the specialty venues were also great. We had the SS package and are wine lovers and had a wide choice of wines by the glass to order. We also got a discount on bottle purchases and enjoyed our French Champagne by the Bottle. If you are interested in cooking classes, sign up right away when you get on board as they do not advertise them in advance. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Our past experiences with Viking have all been positive. We decided to enjoy our vacation with Viking...The staff was friendly and approachable at all times..The food is excellent, with a great variety of offerings... Unfortunately due ... Read More
Our past experiences with Viking have all been positive. We decided to enjoy our vacation with Viking...The staff was friendly and approachable at all times..The food is excellent, with a great variety of offerings... Unfortunately due to rough seas, we were not able to enjoy the pool and hot tub areas....the anticipated yoga and Pilates classes were a disappointment...they were not up to a standard that I have enjoyed here at home. Not worth the additional charge in order to participate. The speakers were interesting and we enjoyed Dr. Fuller and his offerings about the Vikings and their history. Our tour and lunch in the Azores was cancelled to our disappointment...we had been looking forward to learning about the agriculture and farming activities of the island. The substitute offering, which we chose, was just average and although it included lunch, we found that to be mediocre. We have eaten several meals in Portugal when on previous trips and enjoyed the local food immensely...The offering on this Azores tour was not representative of the excellent food that is available. All in all, we had a wonderful crossing and would do it again! PS. the disembarkation in Miami was not well done...probably due to the US customs people not there on time...but hoards of guests, with their travel gear, waiting in the hallways was not a good experience. We finally went up to Deck 7 just to get out of the crush. Since we had to vacate our rooms, they were not available, but you couldn't even get off the elevators at Decks 1 or 2, because of the crowded corridors of people waiting to disembark. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
The ship was excellent, looked brand new. Food was ideal and plenty of it, too much, my diet took a severe hit. The crew was very friendly and available for any request at any time. Responses from Guest Services were timely and complete. I ... Read More
The ship was excellent, looked brand new. Food was ideal and plenty of it, too much, my diet took a severe hit. The crew was very friendly and available for any request at any time. Responses from Guest Services were timely and complete. I really liked the fitness center, the equipment was excellent and in excellent shape. The spa was a special pleasure and we really enjoyed using the spa pool. The ship has plenty of space for everyone, I never felt crowed or that there wasn't a really nice spot to sit and read or just zone out. The dining area is spacious and we never had to wait for a meal. The preparation and menu had many items that we enjoyed and I actually sampled some things I would usually never eat. It was interesting in that respect, it was well prepared and timely. All in all this was an excellent experience and one I would recommend to anyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This was the sixth cruise my wife and I have taken with Viking--four river cruises and, now, two ocean cruises. We purchased the pre-cruise extension in Lisbon because we wanted to see it on the trip. Overall, the trip was excellent. We ... Read More
This was the sixth cruise my wife and I have taken with Viking--four river cruises and, now, two ocean cruises. We purchased the pre-cruise extension in Lisbon because we wanted to see it on the trip. Overall, the trip was excellent. We are accustomed to a very high standard of performance from Viking and our expectations, for the most part were fulfilled. The ship was immaculate, well maintained and well operated. Most of the time in a crossing is devoted to sea days and rest. The entertainers on this ship were truly extraordinary. They presented music that stretched from classical opera repertoire to Motown. There are no dedicated "dancers" but the singers danced and sang and did so very professionally. They entertained! The crew were friendly as well as helpful and accommodating, including the members of the deck department. They all seemed dedicated to helping passengers enjoy a great vacation--and they succeeded. Stateroom attendants were amazingly thorough and helpful. Our air arrangements were horrible however. We were booked on a United flight that operated an old Continental 737-200. Even though we booked suite accommodations on the ship, we were given some of the least desireable seats on this very over-crowded, filthy and old aircraft. On our return, free-air flight from Miami to Jacksonville we were charged $30 per bag by American Airlines and, again, assigned the very least desireable seats on the very cramped Embaer RJ-45. We could have driven from Miami to Jacksonville and arrive sooner than we did using our Viking Air booked flight. Do not use Viking Air. Be prepared for very leisurely meals in the dining room. Plan for a couple of hours or more at dinner if you choose to take your dinner in the dining room. Service is very slow, even on this ship of only 900 passengers. Or hope that more servers are hired to provide better service. The problem is not the waiters:the problem is that there are too few of them. Afternoon tea in the Winter Garden is a highlight of each day for us. With Viking, you also can expect a robust enrichment program presented by a "Resident Historian" as well as various "Guest Lecturers." Watch the schedule carefully to plan your days in a way that permits you to take advantage of these opportunities. They are wonderful and varied. We were particularly attracted to the presentations of a flautist who talked about music and its relationships to our trip and ports of call. We also heard from an astronomer and had the opportunity to learn about ocean sailing and rowing adventures. Viking is a welcome newcomer to the ocean cruise market. It provides a superior experience and, knowing its careful attention to detail in all its operations, I expect the delays in dining service will be resolved before our next trip, which most likely will be on Viking (but without its air option). Incidentally, there were no children among the passengers and there is no children's program. This is not an experience for children. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute ... Read More
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute decision to primarily to celebrate my spouse's recent retirement. Viking repositions this ship from Europe to MIA where Vikings starts its World cruise offering. Therefore, the crossing offers only two ports of call (Azores and Bermuda). While most people on board were seasoned travelers, a few people were surprised that even with all the greatest technical advances this ship could rock. While we had a variety of weather, the Atlantic is not a small pond and it can be quite rough. Although I heard some complaints, I was surprised about some very unrealistic expectations. Since, we actually treated the trip as an adventure we loved it and rod ecommend that you take some Dramamine with you on any cruise . We did not need ours and the medical center could provide some, if you got seasick. Based on our sailing history, we would not rate this past cruise as extremely rough. The cabins on board the Viking Ocean are very comfortable, clean and well layout. Plenty of space to move around in with many public nooks suitable for curling up with a good book! The Viking Staff is selected for their "yes, we can" attitude. Although each one us are very unique individuals, the Viking crew is overall very happy and proud to be working for a rapidly growing company which the staff likes with a 90% retention rate over any 10 yr period. Food as expected on a cruise, is abundant, diverse and always delicious. On Christmas Eve the SUN served large steamed lobsters and perfectly executed Osso Bucco in their regular dining room. There were a few caviar offerings at the bars with all daily events and menus for all meals posted on in-room tv monitors. A few times we needed to use room service and while it too was very tasty, it could have been delivered a bit hotter. Although this cruise had only two ports of call there was plenty of entrainment. We do like the fact that Viking does not have a casino onboard. There were some small poker games and Chinese Mahjong available for those so inclined. There are also video tables where you can enjoy playing a computer black jack dealer. In addition to excellent port of call talks, Viking has a number historians, technical experts (e.g driverless car engineering), and musicians discussing their expertise in very simple and interesting presentations. Viking requires that passengers be at 16 years or old, which we found the adults to be quite friendly and open to making new acquaintances. For us, most part we found tables for two available. Since our last cruise, the bars have a greatly expanded selection of quality brands. Since I favor Tanquary Ten, I was pleased that it was available at every bar. and covered by our drink package. There is a night club for dancing and a night cap, but we did not visit it this trip.The cruise director conducted a caroling sing along in the atrium on Christmas Eve, utilizing the classical pianists, the Viking band and even the on board acoustic guitarist. Unfortunately, I did scrap up my leg at the Lisbon Airport and I needed to used the medical staff to heal it. This inconvenience limited my ability to use the abundant spa fitness services on board. The Viking Norwegian spirt shines with very unique spa treatments and many pools located in the spa, in addition to the lap pools and hot tubs found on deck. On the SUN you can elect to start in a hot sauna and then cool down in an ice room with snow. If it is your thing, there are great gym machines exist and in the morning you are invited to yoga/pilates classes. Otherwise, weather permitting, you can take to the promenade and get your exercise by running or walking around the ship with instructions on how many laps constituted a mile. All in all we enjoyed ourselves and would consider going again. We find sailings of this duration suit our life styles very well and while we liked this crossing, there are so many other offers that we have not tried. For example we doing a Panama crossing this month. Happy Cruising! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. ... Read More
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. The first part of the cruise was very rough and bumpy but calmed down as we headed toward west. My husband and I flew on Delta Air’s red-eye flight from New York to Lisbon, arriving on the morning of our cruise. At the airport, the Viking reps couldn’t find our names on their rosters, but it was quickly sorted out and we were able to get on the shuttle bus along with our fellow passengers. We arrived at the Jardim Do Tabaco Pier where the Viking Sun was docked. After a quick check-in, we unload our carry-on bags in our stateroom and headed out to the city. The ship was not scheduled to leave until 11 PM, so we took Uber to Cervejaria Ramiro to have seafood lunch, and then to Manteigaria to pick up half a dozen of Lisbon’s famous pastel de nata. These delicate pastries costs only 6 euros and was very well packaged for take-out. We got back to the ship at 5:15 PM as that’s when the emergency drill was being held and everyone was required to attend. We had some of the pastries as our late night snacks and kept the rest in the mini fridge for later consumption. It was delicious cold as it was warm. Sun is Viking’s 4th ocean liner. Each ship is small, with only 930 passengers. All have the same layout, so you’ll only get lost once. As with everything Viking does, their customer service is TOP KNOTCH! Food on this ship was one of the best we ever had on any of our previous cruises – everything was delicious and fresh! We ate at all the restaurants (including the specialty restaurants) and our favorite was the World Cafe for their variety, choices, and attentive wait staff. Our room was the Penthouse Veranda on the 6th deck. It was very roomy and comfortable and had everything we needed, including his & hers slippers and robes. Bathroom also was roomy, but the shower temperature tends to change by itself. (I suppose we should’ve reported this to the Customer Service but didn’t.) There were plenty of storage spaces in the room, with safe and mini fridge that was refilled daily with drinks and snacks. We had two wonderful housekeepers, Ganang and Nestor, who always kept our room tidy and clean. Our room was in the front of the ship. We quickly realized our mistake in choosing this location when the ship encountered rough Atlantic Ocean! On rough sea days (for which there were more days than I cared to remember), staying in our room was like riding on a roller coaster! We should’ve chosen our room in the middle or in the back of the ship, as that’s where the stabilizers are located. To everyone’s relief, the ocean calmed down as we headed toward Bermuda. There’s self-service laundry room on every deck. Both the washers and dryers are large sizes. The detergent dispenser boxes are located in back of the appliances. You need to press the number that corresponds to your washing machine to inject the detergent into your washer. You need to bring your own dryer sheets and remember to remove the lint when you’ve finished. Nothing beats having clean clothes when I’m packing on the last day! Entertainment – scattered around the ship are the talented resident pianist (who’s also a composer!), a guitarist, and string duo. Beautiful music can be heard everywhere on the ship. There were also many enrichment programs given throughout the day offering many interesting topics, including a presentation of simulated Boeing 757 cockpit by a retired airline pilot, Lou Thieblemont. It was absolutely FASCINATING! Very rarely do I remember anything from these lectures, however, but on this occasion, one speaker stood out for me. His name is Mick Dawson and he ROWED across not just the Atlantic Ocean but also the Pacific Ocean! His lectures were all very inspirational. I used the gym’s rowing machine for only 10 minutes and I had enough. I can’t imagine rowing for grueling 189 days straight in the Pacific Ocean (a Guinness World Record!) Meeting such an AMAZING individual was worth taking this cruise! I bought his pre-signed book at the ship’s boutique – a Christmas present for myself. Nightly show was at 9:15 PM. Seats are limited, so you need to arrive early. Sometimes we caught the show, sometimes not. Viking Sun’s singers and band are all very talented -- as well as the guest magician, Stephen Williams. We thought we’ve seen all the magic tricks in the book, but he surprised everyone! Don’t miss his show if you see his name on the program. Heading the entertainment dept is Viking Sun’s mezzo-soprano cruise director, Heather Clancy, who looks like a school headmaster until she started singing Carmen. Her assistant is Brian Rodriguez, a tenor, who we had the pleasure of hearing him sing Beatles last year when we were on Viking Sky. LivNordic Spa – there’s no extra charge for using the ship’s thermal spa. Space is very limited, but we always found a place to soak or to sweat. We were disappointed that none of their four hot benches were hot. Each bench was lukewarm at best. (This was also true on Viking Sky.) I booked the spa’s Deep Tissue Massage for both of us before leaving home. My masseuse was Ingrid and she was very good. She removed all the tightness from my body and my muscles felt relaxed afterwards. My husband on the other hand did not cared for his masseur, who not only had garlicky breath, but also did not have enough strength. I tried to book another DTM with Ingrid for us, but she was all booked. Gym – had plenty of exercise machines and equipments. We found that going there early in the morning was the best time to use the treadmills. There is a separate room for stretching and for weight lifting. Food/Drinks – the executive chef on this ship is Thomas Noack, a very capable young chef. He was always walking around the World Café, making sure that everything was properly prepared. Food was very good no matter where we ate. One afternoon, they served lobster salad in the pool area. We liked it so much we got a second plate! I highly recommend Viking Burger at the Pool Grill and Mamsen’s waffle at the Explorers’ Lounge. We did not care for Manfredi’s rib eye. The steak was very fatty so we cut most of it off. Looking at other people’s plates, we could see that others also felt the same way. The second night at Manfredi’s, I ordered their seafood special, which turned out to be king crab legs. It was very meaty and very buttery -- VERY good! I wished I had order that the first time. As with other Viking cruises (from their river to ocean cruises), majority of their passengers belong to the older demographic. We are empty nesters but not yet at the retirement age. We enjoyed talking to many of the passengers and found conversations interesting and entertaining. We only had a problem with one particular couple, possibly the oldest couple on the ship (the husband was a few days shy of his 89th birthday), whom we found annoying. They acted like the ship was their private vessel! One incident happened on the morning we docked in Bermuda. My husband and I were having breakfast at the World Café and admiring the beautiful view outside, when we heard this elderly fellow making a lot of noises behind us. There were plenty of empty tables nearby, so we didn’t’ know what the problem was. Apparently, where we were sitting, had the best view of Hamilton, and that’s where this couple wanted to sit! The guy was huffing and puffing with all his might that I finally offered to give up our seats to them. A wait staff quickly stepped in and usher this couple to a nearby empty table by the window, even as the guy continued to complain that our seats had a better view. (Personally, I don’t think there’s any bad view in Bermuda, but go figure!) They were the only rude people we met on this cruise. Majority of the other passengers were polite and gracious and we enjoyed their company. Overall, we had a wonderful time on Viking Sun! From beginning to end, everything was well organized and stress-free. Viking is our favorite cruise line and we look forward to be onboard again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Staff is friendly and courteous. Food was exceptional, could have been more by the way of entertainment perhaps, especially on lengthy sea days during cold weather. Overall one of the best cruising experiences I have had. We have ... Read More
Staff is friendly and courteous. Food was exceptional, could have been more by the way of entertainment perhaps, especially on lengthy sea days during cold weather. Overall one of the best cruising experiences I have had. We have already booked another Viking sea cruise for 2019! For anyone who is considering the liquor package, I highly recommend it. The wine selections are excellent and the liquors are top shelf.... well well worth the money. The spa area with the heat, cold, and salt water therapy is outstanding and never crowded. The locker situation leaves a lot to be desired however. The lockers should open and lock with your key card. Very few of them worked and a steward would have to come to lock or unlock your locker... a bit annoying.... when you set aside the minor inconveniences you’ll realize that you have had a really good experience with great staff and you will meet some very interesting people. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I love Viking Ocean. Well worth the money. We usually eat dinner in World Cafe since it has same menu Plus I like the seafood it offers. Sushi bar every night is good. Ten flavors of ice cream made on ship. I like you can order a steak at ... Read More
I love Viking Ocean. Well worth the money. We usually eat dinner in World Cafe since it has same menu Plus I like the seafood it offers. Sushi bar every night is good. Ten flavors of ice cream made on ship. I like you can order a steak at grill. I enjoy spending 3 hours for dinner in cafe eating and drinking wine. Great place to meet people. We will be on same ship in May for 21 day cruise. Have 40 day cruise in Dec. No longer do Celebrity. My only wish is that they do more games on sea days. They only throw the bean bag. I would like to see them do more minutes to win it games. Staff is very friendly. They all appear very happy. May be the free internet everyone has. I enjoy the shows each night. The local talent is also good.looking forward to next cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And ... Read More
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And we felt very safe, even when we were sailing by Somalia. The ship is lovely and very well designed. The interior decorating is very Scandinavian and comfortable. There were lots of places to relax. Even though there were nearly 900 people on the ship, we never felt it was crowded. The food choices were excellent, and we probably ate more than we should have! We really enjoyed having a variety of food venues and the option to eat both inside and outside. We liked the experience so much that we signed up on board for another cruise on the ORION in Nov. 2019 -this time to Southeast Asia. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in ... Read More
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in the dinning rooms and the cabin stewards was above expectation. We were so impressed we are looking forward to our next ocean cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and we did not have to stand in hallways as you do on larger ships. We enjoyed the choice of places to eat and that you could eat around the pool or in small areas around the ship. The cabin was large and the bathroom was larger than most ships. Viking does a great job with entertainment and making our cruise one of the most enjoyable ones we have gone on in a long time. We are looking forward to our next one. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I have sailed a lot, probably close to100 cruises. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have spent over 360 days. But I was so impressed with everything about this voyage, I’m not sure I ever will go back to any other line; I think I have ... Read More
I have sailed a lot, probably close to100 cruises. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have spent over 360 days. But I was so impressed with everything about this voyage, I’m not sure I ever will go back to any other line; I think I have found my new home on the seas. embarkation and disembarkation both went very smoothly, a benefit of sailing with only 900 other passengers. This was not only the first and last day of the cruise but also for every port we visited. We were in Suite 4000, a ES1 category. Before sailing, I looked at the diagram for the owner’s suite on deck 7. I wondered if I would have wanted or needed everything provided in that cabin. Once we boarded and were settled in our suite, I was perfectly happy and would not have wanted to move upstairs. Heck, even the lowest standard cabins on Vining Ocean are better than many higher-level cabins on other cruise lines. I have often been a Grills passenger on Cunard. The Queen’s Grill on QM2 is considered by some to be the best restaurant at sea. Although Wiking does not offer dishes prepared table side, the quality and presentation and variety is equal to the food on other ships. Open dining was a delight and we never had a wait, It was nice to have the alternative dining restaurants and not have to pay extra. The rotating menu at the Chef’s Table was a deal. We ate there five nights during the month we were on board. Wine (which was not bad) and beer (which I don’t drink) were free during meals and I never paid for non-alcoholic beverages and coffee away from the restaurants. I consider it a benefit not to have a casino on the ships, photographers always wanting to take your picture, and on the shops on board lining the hallways as they apply their wares. I loved not having announcements every hour. The lecturers were very good and well-versed to discuss their topics, especially the port talks. Evening stage shows were above-average and well attended, but not the glitzy performances produced on larger ships. At least one excursion is free in every port. I participated in some of those and they were fine. The optional, paid excursions were well run and educational. Good variety of options. The gym is good, plenty of machines. Never crowded. A great spa and - since the line is Norwegian - great sauna, jacuzzi, ice water buckets AND a snow grotto. Imagine a snowball fight in the Suez Canal, I can’t say enough to complement the Viking professionals who made this such an enjoyable adventure. I liked it so much that I already have booked a one month journey next summer. I am sold on Viking! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
What sold us about the cruise are the destination. The Viking Orion is beautiful with plenty public sitting and relaxing area beautifully Scandinavian furnishings. What impress us is how friendly the crew are. They are always smiling, ... Read More
What sold us about the cruise are the destination. The Viking Orion is beautiful with plenty public sitting and relaxing area beautifully Scandinavian furnishings. What impress us is how friendly the crew are. They are always smiling, say "hello" to you even you walk by them. We love the World Cafe, their food and services are better than the other dinning rooms.you can find king crab legs every night there. The order to cook oriental dishes there are great. The only thing is the storeroom services can be a little more efficient. They don't clean our room until after 10 a.m in the morning or prepare our beds after 9 p.m. I wish they can do it earlier. Maybe too many rooms to clean by 1 storeroom stewardess. Overall it was a great trip with some minor excursions mix up. Too many days in Mumbai especially for those with the 35days segment. They should have an overland excursion to the Tah Mahjai. Also, 1 day in Sri Lanka is enough. Overnight should be added to Penang and Singapore so passengers can enjoy the night food market and night life in both places. Too little time in these beautiful places. Also, entertainment can be brush a little bit. Aiden Soon 's performance is incredible, one of the best we saw in our cruises experience. Need more entertainers like him. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our first cruise with Viking but I am sure it won't be our last. Previous cruises have been on much larger ships so were looking forward to discovering the difference. From day one we were blown away by the spaciousness of ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Viking but I am sure it won't be our last. Previous cruises have been on much larger ships so were looking forward to discovering the difference. From day one we were blown away by the spaciousness of the ship.The decor is wonderful and restful. No where was crowded and you could relax anywhere. The cabin was of a good size with plenty of storage space. Bathroom was great with seperate shower and heated floor, not that we need that as everyday was hot. Our cabin stewards were excellent and nothing was too much trouble. Free laundry was a real bonus. Just had to make sure got back in time to remove from machines as they were in high demand. Having said that, I never has to wait to use one. The restaurants were of a high standard but we chose to eat mostly on the Aquavit Terrace as was so pleasant in the morning and evening. It also meant that our friends could always find us!!! The pools were never crowded and the water was usually warm but sometimes a little too warm due to the very high temperatures we were travelling in. Unlike other ships there was never a problem finding a sun lounge. Spa was fabulous and a lot of fun. We tried the golf putting greens which were a real challenge. Entertainment was of a fairly high standard but didn't perhaps have the variety of larger ships.We enjoyed every performance we went to.The enrichment talks were extremely good and we learnt so much from the varied subjects presented. Trivia was always fun even though no prizes but that didnt stop the competitive nature of the players. I think Viking will have learnt a lot from this cruise about the shore excursions. We found the included tours to be very hit annd miss and unfortunately mostly a miss.This was the first time the ship had been to many of these ports. The tour guides were sometimes very hard to understand and the itineraries lacking in substance. A lot of the ports on this cruise were a long way from the city which we were visiting which meant a lot of travelling time in very hot weather. We organised a lot of private tours which worked very well and were more cost effective. In summary Brilliant ship. Excellent staff everywhere on the ship. Fabulous itinerary. Met wonderful people who hopefully we will be able to catch up with again in the future as we had so much fun. Missing it all already Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Viking cruise line lived up their reputation as being extremely fabulous!! Great ambiance! Great staff- so eager to please! Wonderful food! Informative tours! Viking does it right!!!! We took advantage of every included ... Read More
Viking cruise line lived up their reputation as being extremely fabulous!! Great ambiance! Great staff- so eager to please! Wonderful food! Informative tours! Viking does it right!!!! We took advantage of every included excursion! It would have been nice if they were more than just a couple stops for photo ops though! We especially enjoyed many of the waiters in The Restaurant! They were so polite and eager to please! The food was very good and menu selections were very adequate!! We loved Manfredi’s and the Italian restaurant! Nice to have variety! The ship was very beautiful! It was kept impeccably clean by the very hard working cleaning staff! Our room steward was so friendly and always considerate and polite! We so enjoyed our first ocean cruise and have booked two more! We have and will continue to recommend the Viking cruise line the family and friends! It is a pricey cruise line but so much is included- which helps!! Giving sizable price breaks/incentives to repeat customers would be very appreciated! We flew SAS- as arranged by Viking! NEVER AGAIN!! Horrible flight home!!! They lost our luggage for 6 days!!! Many we spoke with shared our concerns! They agreed and advised - avoid SAS!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I chose this as my first ocean cruise because of the itinerary and a previous experience with Viking River cruises. The ship was immaculate - they were even power-washing to exterior in one port because of marks made when docking. The crew ... Read More
I chose this as my first ocean cruise because of the itinerary and a previous experience with Viking River cruises. The ship was immaculate - they were even power-washing to exterior in one port because of marks made when docking. The crew are all attractive, energetic and ready to meed your every need. There was an amazing variety of shore excursions,, designed to meet the needs of those of us walking with a cane to the young who hiked miles over mountains! Dining is a pleasure. There are a variety of restaurants from buffets to white-linen tables. Of course, breakfast in bed watching the world go by through the glass wall separating your stateroom from your veranda. Viking cruises can be expensive but you get what you pay for. You can lounge by the pool, reading in a quiet corner of the library, or enjoy a drink in the observation lounges fore and aft. Be aware that internet access will be spotty at best unless you are docked in a port where the ship can connect with a service. There is always the option of locating the Starbucks in your port. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
As the cruising industry keeps making ships bigger, we abandoned that venue. It couldn't deliver the experience we needed. We started river cruising and found that smaller ships, smaller number of passengers, more focus on the ... Read More
As the cruising industry keeps making ships bigger, we abandoned that venue. It couldn't deliver the experience we needed. We started river cruising and found that smaller ships, smaller number of passengers, more focus on the educational experience matched our needs. Now Viking has re-invented the ocean cruise experience and delivered beyond our expectations. The ship is perfect. It had the right number of passengers. The open areas were spectacular. The food was terrific. The room was luxurious. The ability to be with a group balanced with being in a quiet one on one area was perfect. The crew addressed our every need. In conversations with them you know that Viking was treating them well and they were loyal to the company. The educational programs was outstanding. Dr Laurie gave us unbelievable insights. The cruise director was informative, engaging and funny. Matching the route to historical events was enlightening and enriching. It seems that every attention to detail really made a difference. We highly recommend this ship and diving back to the ocean cruising experience. Now we can go beyond the rivers and venture back to the seas. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and I had taken a Viking River Cruise a couple of years ago and were excited to find that the company had gone into the sea cruising business. We were somewhat late in signing up for this cruise but found that the rear Explorer ... Read More
My wife and I had taken a Viking River Cruise a couple of years ago and were excited to find that the company had gone into the sea cruising business. We were somewhat late in signing up for this cruise but found that the rear Explorer Suite was available. The reputation of Viking and our personal experience gave us great confidence that our money would be well spent. This proved to be true in nearly every segment of the cruise. Our early boarding was nicely done as our luggage arrived at our room in a very timely fashion. There was one problem which took time to resolve. The obligatory picture of each of us upon boarding for the first time apparently failed to register. We had to stand in a fairly long line to have that resolved which kept us from our room for about an extra hour. Once in however, we were made comfortable by our extraordinary Stewardess, Jackie. The Suite was beautiful and comfortable as I discuss in the box below. My wife had a hip problem that caused her to be uncomfortable in the two chairs provided in the room. We saw deeper chairs in the room next door and asked Jackie about exchanging one of ours for one similar to what we saw. Ten minutes later Jackie and her partner had the new chair set up and the other one gone. We were pleased to no end. This was just a sample of the extremely courteous, thoughtful service she provided throughout our voyage. The ship itself is the most beautiful and functional we have been on. Great care has been put into considering the comfort of the passengers and offering a different style of cruising from that of the competition. The dining experience was one of recognizing what was great and what was ordinary. I thought the seafood was outstanding and the beef dishes to be ordinary. This might be something to look to upgrading. The specialty restaurants were mixed, I felt.Manfredi's Restaurant was superb in both food and décor. The Chef's Table was okay except for the problem that causes the passengers to pick the date they want to be at that restaurant many weeks in advance without, as we found out, any knowledge of the style of food to be served at that sitting. We were fortunate to change our sitting to a different night when we found out that reindeer was not on our list of exciting food choices. I do suggest that something be done to allow passengers to have better information prior to making a choice on the Chef's Table. The port excursions were uniformly excellent. We loved them all. I particularly liked the trek across the headlands at Kirkwall in the Orkneys and Scara Brae. Our tour of Dublin afforded us the opportunity to see, hear and sing along with the best single day guide we have ever had. His name is Sam Ford and he is the best. Others were top notch as well. Needless to say, my wife and I will continue to patronize Viking Cruises both on the rivers and at sea. Our experience was the best ever and it is little wonder that the latest Travel and Leisure rates Viking Sea Cruises head and shoulders above the competition and with the highest rated ships of any size. Thank you for a most wonderful time aboard the Viking Sun. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
I have been on several Viking River Cruises and have always found the staffs to be very warm, welcoming and inviting. The Viking Sun was no different. The entire staff went out of their way to make our voyage one of the most exciting of ... Read More
I have been on several Viking River Cruises and have always found the staffs to be very warm, welcoming and inviting. The Viking Sun was no different. The entire staff went out of their way to make our voyage one of the most exciting of a lifetime. Viking does it right! My husband and I were on the Viking Sun World Cruise for 4 months. Between the interesting ports of call, enrichment lectures, shore excursions and the dining options, I can honestly say that we never got bored. I can't say enough about the staff. They would go above and beyond to get you whatever you asked. Everyone on the staff was accessible, from the captain on down. In four months of dining aboard ship I can honestly say that I never walked away from a meal feeling disappointed. While we are not planning any further cruises in the near-term, you can be sure Viking will be the one we contact when we're ready to cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
The Viking experience covered everything! Our early morning flight to Barcelona arrived early and there was our welcoming Viking Red waiting for us at the baggage claim. Private car transfer to precruise Renaissance hotel and into our ... Read More
The Viking experience covered everything! Our early morning flight to Barcelona arrived early and there was our welcoming Viking Red waiting for us at the baggage claim. Private car transfer to precruise Renaissance hotel and into our room by 9:00 a.m. Talked with the Viking rep about the area and got great local recommendations. Transfer to ship, panoramic bus trip allowed the Sky and the hotel time to prepare for the next round of guests. Embarkation process was relatively quick and we were onboard by lunchtime. Room access was timely and met our stateroom stewards for a overview. These guys, worked hard and were always willing to get us what we needed. Dining - really looked forward to the alternative dining. Loved the ability to check the menus using the Viking Voyager app and make adjustments and additional reservations. The Chef’s Table was wonderfully imaginative, but we are the adventurous types. Manifredi’s indeed served enormous portions, asparagus become my favorite side. The dining room was good, but we found the World Cafe served the same food and ended up there more than we expected. We didn’t have the Silver Spirits package but enjoyed the included wines, paying for an occasional cocktail. Activities-cooking demonstrations, bridge tour, galley tour, movies under the stars, live entertainment, port talks were all included. Additional charges for wine tasting, cooking class in the Kitchen Table, and spa treatments. The service was wonderful, the staff doesn’t seem to know the word ‘No’, except ‘no problem’. They seem genuinely happy working for Viking. Viking doesn’t nickel and dime their employees or their guests, the staff doesn’t have to pay for their uniforms, their WiFi, or their flight home. The ports weren’t congested, probably due to the April sailing. Only occasionally, did we share the port with othe cruise ships, including the RCCL’s newest behemoth. Boy, was I happy with the 930 passengers size! Probably the reason the Sky was moved to the prime docking location near the Columbus monument instead of terminal 3 in Barcelona. The shore excursions were staggered, but even so, that’s where the congestion happened as the gangway opened and the staffed filled the tours and headed the groups out to the waiting buses. Included Shore excursions generally included bus tours with stops. The value of these was greatly affected by the individual guide. Optional excursions were as described, read the description and listen to the port talk to set expectations. The MyVikingJourney reservation process was cumbersome at times, with Sold Out tours and late additions. Mixed or inaccurate responses from the 800 customer help line added to the confusion. But overall, apprehension was wasted effort, Viking knows their successful business model. (Tellus@vikingcruises.com was much better than the 800 number.) After just a few days, we were talking to the onboard cruise consultant to take advantage of promotions to book our next Viking adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
This was an excellent way to get a taste of 7 countries. The Viking cruise line gives you highlights of each stop, handouts and talks. They also share their Viking history throughout the cruise. The food was local and delicious. We ... Read More
This was an excellent way to get a taste of 7 countries. The Viking cruise line gives you highlights of each stop, handouts and talks. They also share their Viking history throughout the cruise. The food was local and delicious. We dined at both specialty restaurants. The Chef's Table was very disappointing. Had we known what they were serving we probably would not have gone. The service was horrible. Everyone in our group wrote a bad review and we were invited back to try again. The food was OK but the service was much improved. We also ate at Manfredi's. The service was very good and the food was fabulous! I would eat there every night if I had a choice. The menu is huge and quite varied. We ordered small plates and sides so that we could try more items. They did not disappoint. The guides were knowledgeable, and in many cases, entertaining. It was a bit fast-paced but I guess that's the nature of this particular cruise. There was some repetition in Barcelona but we came early and had taken the tours then. We fell in love with Barcelona! I could live there and love it. The tours really needed to include free time at the end to walk around and shop a bit. The tour of Cartagena was mostly in the mountains, showing us the devastation caused by mining that started with the Romans. Granada, home of Picasso was lovely. Could have stayed longer. Porto was beautiful. The port wine is delicious. Falmouth is not really a tourist town but they are friendly. Portsmouth. We opted to see Stonehenge. It was awe-inspiring. I would love to go back. LeHarve. We opted for the Paris tour and were not disappointed. The guide was great and if I ever got the chance to return I would hire her as my guide. She gave us a grand tour upon arrival and made suggestions on how best to see Paris in the time we had. Our 4 hours was not wasted and it made us want to return to see more. The tour of the fishing village outside of Amsterdam needed work. We spent too much time walking back and forth. The guide did his best to accommodate people who truly should not have been on the tour. Bruges. We toured Gent, city of chocolate and beer! We had chocolate for lunch and were not disappointed. The city is full of history and pride. Bergen. I am glad we booked extra time in this beautiful city. The people are friendly. The food, although expensive, is fabulous. This is a vibrant country. the people never stop. Oslo. I cannot say much about Oslo because we didn't really get to see it due to changes beyond our control. We only had a brief bus tour and a very late dinner and had to fly out the next morning. I would consider going back to actually tour it right. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Previous great Viking cruises. The itinerary. Value. Lifetime travel goals, Barcelona, Montserrat, Sagrada Familia, Cartagena, Roman Theater, Granada, Alhambra, Rock of Gibraltar, Porto, Land’s End, St Ives, Salisbury Cathedral, ... Read More
Previous great Viking cruises. The itinerary. Value. Lifetime travel goals, Barcelona, Montserrat, Sagrada Familia, Cartagena, Roman Theater, Granada, Alhambra, Rock of Gibraltar, Porto, Land’s End, St Ives, Salisbury Cathedral, Magna Carta,Stonehenge, Monet’s home & garden, all realized on this incredible journey! The shipboard experience was superb in all aspects, as anticipated. There were some rough seas off the coasts of Spain & Portugal, but we were not ill or uncomfortable; not true for many other guests & crew. Weather was quite good overall, at sea & in port. Tour guides were good, and for Montserrat, Grenada, Monet garden & Stonehenge, simply outstanding. Onboard dining was great & bars & restaurant drinks also. Entertainment was really fun, and entertainers were visible & approachable during the cruise. The cultural enrichment programs are Viking’s strongest point, and wonderful on this journey. Sail-away talks were great, and how special, to sit down for office hours with a high-level former British Ambassador? A fabulous experien, highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our second Viking Ocean... fantastic! We love the ship, it is port-intensive,love the 2 days in port at the start and the end, the flowing wine at lunch and dinner, the heated bathroom floors, the wonderful staff, the mostly great ... Read More
This was our second Viking Ocean... fantastic! We love the ship, it is port-intensive,love the 2 days in port at the start and the end, the flowing wine at lunch and dinner, the heated bathroom floors, the wonderful staff, the mostly great food. We had a great cruise director and mostly good entertainment-- some even great! We didn't know that this was a repositioning cruise but we believe it was...to take the ship from the Mediterranean up to the Baltic. In 14 days there were 11 great cities with 1 exception- Porto Portugal which we were in just too short a time (6 hours). B ecause it was repositioning (we think) the price was very good. As for the food, we mostly chose the Restaurant which is the formal dining room, but not one of the 2 "specialty" dining options. We loved Manfredi's and were able to get a private room 2 nights as there were 10 in our group. We were not that fond of the Chef's Table so tried it once and did not go back. That menu is limited and "foam" is used in lots of the choices! Read Less
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